Densus – one of the oldest Romanian stone churches in which services are still officiated

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The Densus Church (also known as Saint Nicholas’ Church) located in Densus village (earlier Demsus), Hunedoara County is one of the oldest Romanian churches still standing. The church is situated close to Hateg and few kilometers far away from the ancient Roman Dacia Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa.

Historians claim that the Densus Church was built on the ruins of a temple dedicated to the god Mars, where the Romans who came to Dacia used the altar for sacrifice rituals. After the Roman administrative withdrawal, the temple became a Christian church and sermons were held there.

The first historical evidence of the monument dates from 1360. Inscriptions inside the church attest Dacian presence, but there are also Gothic, Roman and Orthodox elements.

The church is 30 meters long, 8 meters wide, 18 meters high and it has an interior space of 15 square meters. With a unique architecture, Densus Church was built entirely of stone. The walls were built of bricks with Roman inscriptions, tombstones, sewerage pipes, blocks, marble, columns and sculptures taken from the former capital of the province Dacia, Ulpia Traiana. The altar table is also made of a tombstone whose letters are not eligible anymore.  The roof is made of stone plates. The mural paintings inside the church, on an ultramarine background, dates back from 15th century and are signed by the artist Stefan whose signature can still be seen today.

In the middle of the 19th century, at some point, the inhabitants of the village wanted to put it down so that they can built a larger one. Finally it was saved by the authorities in Budapest, who considered it a monument and banned its demolition. Before 1989, the image of the Church of Densus was on one of the most popular stamps, the one with RON 0, 4 (40 bani), and in 1991 the church was proposed to enter on the list of monuments UNESCO. The church was restored in 2003 and 2005 with the contribution of the US Embassy and the Ministry of Culture.

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